DOJ Nazi Hunters Shift Focus to Perpetrators of New Atrocities
Nazis responsible for Holocaust atrocities are dying out, but the Justice Department unit responsible for extraditing them from U.S. soil continues to operate, albeit with a new focus.
The Office of Special Investigations, created in 1979, has won deportation orders against 107 immigrants suspected of lying about their pasts on citizenship forms and prevented another 180 from entering the United States, the Washington Post reports. The unit continues to race to extradite the few remaining Nazis in the United States, but it has expanded its mission.
Now the unit is focusing on new war crimes, a more difficult mission given the lack of detailed records like those kept by the Nazis. The unit is investigating 80 cases in which people are suspected of lying about genocides and other human rights violations to enter the country.
In one of its leading cases, the unit is trying to deport 82-year-old Lazare Kabaya Kobagaya, a resident of Topeka, Kan., suspected of taking part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
But the unit may not survive in its present form. Lanny Breuer, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s criminal division, told the Post it could be merged with the department’s domestic security section, recently in the news for its prosecution of Charles Taylor Jr., the son of Liberia’s former president. Taylor was sentenced to 97 years in prison for his role in the torture of political opponents.